UEFA Europa League Quarter Finals Preview – Arsenal vs Napoli; Villarreal vs Valencia
The UEFA Europa League quarterfinals are just around the corner, and each of the eight remaining teams have a great chance of winning the second-tier trophy that comes with the added bonus of a guaranteed Champions League spot. Nitrogen Sports Blog will discuss the two matchups in this round below, featuring Arsenal, Napoli, Villareal, and Valencia.
Arsenal vs Napoli
Arsenal face the sternest test of their Europa League campaign when Napoli travel to North London for the first leg of their quarterfinal series.
Lorenzo Insigne and Faouzi Ghoulam are set to return after dealing with injuries for the Italian side, with Insigne adding an extra element to a dangerous Napoli attack.
Dries Mertens is also in decent form up top, so Arsenal will have to be careful in trying to avoid giving up away goals at the Emirates stadium.
The Gunners have steadily improved since the beginning of the season under Unai Emery. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in the running for the Premier League golden boot, and they’re fighting hard for a top-four finish against London rivals Chelsea and Tottenham.
Despite an early scare against Rennes after going 3-1 down in the first leg, Aubameyang came up with a brace and donned a Black Panther mask to celebrate as Arsenal won 3-0 to advance to the last eight.
Villarreal vs Valencia
Villarreal host local rivals Valencia CF at Estadio de la Ceramica in an all-Spanish meeting.
The home side has struggled domestically all season, and they’ve been dragged into a vicious relegation battle at the bottom of La Liga.
The quarterfinal could be a welcome distraction from the reality of a disastrous season, but Villarreal would arguably be in a better league position if they weren’t fighting on multiple fronts.
Valencia won the Europa League back in 2002-03, and they’re currently unbeaten in the competition.
Their route to the quarterfinal was relatively easy, seeing off Celtic and FC Krasnodar after the group stage, and they beat Real Madrid in a midweek league game heading into their match against El Submarino Amarillo.
The sides last met in January, with Valencia earning a 3-0 victory under little pressure.
The winner will be the last remaining Spanish side in the competition heading into the semi-finals.
This sports betting guide for the UEFA Europa League quarterfinals aims to further hype up the interest in this competitive tournament. Check out Nitrogen Sports Blog regularly for more previews for soccer and other major sporting events.